HERSHEY (January 26, 2019) – The Laval Rocket never gave at up Giant Center on Saturday night. Though they fell just short of completing the comeback, Laval came back from a three-goal deficit against the Hershey Bears in the second half of the game and fought for the equalizer until the final buzzer. David Schlemko and Alex Kile netted their first goals as members of the Laval Rocket in the 4-2 loss.
A powerplay goal got Hershey on the board early in the first as Nathan Walker was fed a perfect pass from Mike Sgarbossa and outwaited Michael McNiven to send his 10th of the year over his pads and in the net. McNiven came up big with a save on a two-on-one late in the period to keep Laval’s deficit to one.
A tic-tac-toe passing play resulted in another powerplay goal for the Bears and gave them a 2-0 lead over Joēl Bouchard’s players halfway through the second period, and a shorthanded goal would put the Bears up by three less than a minute later. Schlemko would take Hershey’s Vitek Vanecek by surprise with a wrist shot off a faceoff with five minutes remaining in the period however, getting the Rocket on the board by period’s end.
Kile’s first as a Rocket put Laval back to within one just two minutes into the third period as he deked out Vanecek, giving his team the momentum they needed to put consistent pressure on their opponents for the rest of the game. The Bears’ fourth and final goal came with McNiven on the bench in favour of the extra attacker in the final minute of play, locking in the final score of 4-2.
“We lost this game by one goal and yesterday’s game by one goal. I think yesterday we deserved a better ending,” explained Bouchard after the game. “But now we have [Jake] Evans who is going to come back in the lineup, and maybe some other guys. We just have to keep our focus on coming back strong in Toronto.”
LAV: Schlemko (Audette, Grenier) | Kile (Martineau, Ouellet)
HER: Walker (Sgarbossa, Ness) | Sgarbossa (Megna, Sproul) | Malenstyn (Sgarbossa) | Barber
Goaltenders: LAV: McNiven (27/31) | HER: Vanecek (19/21)
Rocket Powerplay: 0/4 | Rocket Penalty Kill: 3/5
Three Stars: 1. Mike Sgarbossa – HER | 2. Beck Malenstyn – HER | 3. Nathan Walker – HER